by Keri Allan

UAE CIOs: Is emerging tech stressing staff?

Oct 15, 2019
Artificial IntelligenceBig DataEmerging Technology

Forward-thinking CIOs are looking at the impact of businessu2019 increased reliance on tech and the long-term effect this can have on their employees, study shows.

virtual display / GUI - emerging technology - virtual reality [VR] / augmented reality [AR]
Credit: Thinkstock

Business leaders in the UAE are embracing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, cloud and enhanced analytics in a push to increase efficiencies and improve customer experience.

Many cite this as the reason behind the region’s recent economic growth, but executives believe that while new tech brings multiple benefits to employees, it can also bring added stress.

According to a recent report by Robert Half UAE, over half (55 percent) of business leaders questioned believe that their company’s increasing reliance on new technology is very positive for staff. They noted that introducing new technologies helps employees expand their skill sets and free up time to focus on more strategic work.

Improve employee productivity

Survey results showed that business leaders have seen progress in the freeing up of employee time to focus on more strategic work by 40 percent and improving collaboration between departments and colleagues by 42 percent thanks to the implementation of technologies such as automation, AI and advanced analytics. These can take time-consuming manual tasks from employees’ workloads, freeing them from mundane daily jobs in order to work on more high value tasks.

Technology’s ability to improve flexible working options is also a big employee benefit, “with more opportunity to work remotely and communicate effectively,” says Gareth El Mettouri, Associate Director at Robert Half UAE. “Research from our Salary Guide sees 86 percent of UAE organisations modernising their work environments to attract more talent,” he adds.

Problems with technological reliance

Technological reliance isn’t entirely without issues, however. It can put a huge strain on existing employees. Robert Half UAE’s research noted that a lack of the right training is the biggest issue, stifling employees’ ability to adapt to changes that come with the introduction of a new technology into the business. This can also lead to staff acquiring a resistance to change.

Proactive business leaders are ensuring these problems don’t occur within their company through several means. Firstly they’re making sure that employees receive the training they need in order to make the most from these technologies. Robert Half UAE’s latest salary guide shows promising results from UAE business leaders, with 81 percent offering training to support “digital change”.

The importance of training

El Mettouri notes that business leaders should be aware of what technical learning and training is available to their employees at all levels, with consideration taken on the adaption process and the long-term effects on their workforce when implementing new technologies.

“Technological understanding is the top skill leading digital change according to 63 percent of UAE business leaders surveyed, so it’s important to make sure that their senior leadership is provided with the right training. They can then advance their knowledge to become digital leaders and plan ahead for the challenges that whole departments may face when implementing new technologies,” he notes.

Recruit the right skills

Secondly, business leaders are hiring staff with the necessary skills to oversee new technological implementations and ensure employees are fully supported and prepared for any changes to come.

“To ensure they have the proper training 42 percent of employers are looking to upskill current employees by hiring new talent with the (necessary) technical know-how so employers can retain and hire new talent,” El Mettouri points out.

“With the digital skills shortage set to increase there is more opportunity to hire technology professionals in order to retain current talent and upskill them,” he continues. “Roles such as ‘digital transformation consultant’ or ‘AI developer’ are on the rise due to progression with AI and automation technology and the need for businesses to keep up with demand in the market.”

Get prepared

Business’ growing reliance on technology is making leaders reassess their current staffing and training models. But those that are prepared for the growing role of technology within their company are placing themselves in a better position to adapt and move forward with their goals.

By creating a workplace culture that focuses on continued development and training within the technology space, you’ll create an appealing work environment for both current employees and those you’re looking to recruit. This in turn will lead to fulfilled and productive staff that will help push your business to even further success.